GREENVILLE, N.C. — You've heard this saying before, ‘My car is a lemon’.
It's a funny picture to conjure up in your mind, but when your car is having issues, all humor is lost.
"My car started making a weird noise; my air conditioner stopped working again, and then when I got home from my honeymoon, the check engine light came on. I'm done, said Dan Barkyoumb, the car owner.
Poor Dan, it’s one problem after another, but even with all that, Dan’s car wouldn't be considered a lemon.
In North Carolina, the Lemon Law only applies if:
It is a new vehicle.
It requires manufacturers to repair defects that affect the use, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first).
The vehicle must have been to the shop for repairs for the same problem four or more times.
If all these boxes are checked, then by law, the manufacturer must either replace your vehicle or buy it back.
A lot of folks get frustrated with this time-consuming process and instead choose to sell the car to someone else. That is how you could get stuck with the lemon and have no protection, because the car will no longer be considered new, but used.
"When buying any car, check for open recalls at NHTSA.gov/recalls. You can also get a vehicle history report. But the best way to ensure
that a car is roadworthy is to have it inspected by an independent mechanic before,” said Jon Linkov of Consumer Reports.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to about $100 to get the vehicle you're looking at inspected. I know, it's not convenient. I know, it's more money and you may not end up with the car, but it could keep you from a money pit.